Crazy Little Thing Called Love – No, Limerence

By Kendra Holliday | February 19, 2015

Are you obsessed with
the wrong person?

“Love is a human religion in which another person is believed in.” – Robert Seidenberg

I have two close friends who are suffering from limerence.

From Wikipedia:

Limerence is an involuntary cognitive and emotional state in which a person feels an intense romantic desire for another person.

Some of the components:

– Intrusive thinking about the limerent object. (Note the word “object” used here when referring to a human being. The thoughts become pretty possessive.)

– Acute longing for reciprocation.

– Unsettling shyness in the limerent object’s presence.

– Intensification through adversity.

– Acute sensitivity to any act, thought, or condition, with one’s mood being affected by the limerent object’s actions.

I’ve experienced limerence many times in my life. The first time was in 5th grade when I freakishly obsessed over Michael Jackson. The second time was in 7th grade when I became obsessed with Duran Duran. I thought about Simon Le Bon’s sperm a little too much, let me tell you.

When limerence is mutual, it’s magical. It’s New Relationship Energy. It can fuel you for weeks, even months, until you get to a more simmering, contented love destination.

When limerence is one-sided, that pretty much puts you in the “stalker” category. One-sided limerence cloaks a person in delusion, false hope. You’re lovesick. When you’re under the spell of limerence, you are never bored. Nor are you mentally healthy. Your energy is being channeled down a dead end street.

Both of my friends are men in their 50’s who spent three years building an intense, emotionally relationship with younger women who unconsciously reminded them of people they lost and desperately wished to rescue – one was a drug-addicted brother; the other was a mentally ill wife.

I have recommended both of them seek therapy, and read the book Love and Limerence: The Experience of Being in Love, by Dorothy Tennov, as well as the book Crazy Little Thing: Why Love and Sex Drive Us Mad, by Liz Langley.

Unfortunately, limerence can linger for years. It’s very difficult to break the spell. Things you can do to cope:

– Do not contact your limerent object. He or she does not want to hear from you. Leave them in peace.

– Journal, write, start a private blog.

– Get rid of all the stuff that reminds you of your limerent object. Remove the jewelry, Burn the cards in a symbolic ritual. Delete the photos from your hard drive.

– Surround yourself with good people who have positive energy. Join a church or community center. Recognize that you are loved.

– Focus your energy on helping others. Foster rescue dogs. Plant a garden. Take a painting class. Nurture and create. There are plenty who appreciate what you have to offer.

– Be kind to yourself. Don’t beat yourself up. Imagine a close friend in your shoes. What would you say to them? How would you support them?

And this tip might sound immature and petty, but it helped me out the last time I mooned over someone who didn’t want me – remind yourself of all the things you don’t like about your limerent object – the fact that they smoked, had ugly feet, never had time for you, couldn’t save money and get their shit together. Now is the time for a realtiy check.

Take off the blinders and see the truth. Be open and honest with yourself.

It’s the first step to freedom.


Photo by Steve Truesdell


Colin Sphincter 2011-10-03 09:09:04

The only sure ‘cure’ to unrequitted limerence is transference to a new l.o. limerent object. Finding a new love. For someone who experiences this obsession late in life, especially with a younger mate, this can prove to be quite difficult, perhaps impossible. In the end, you must discover that it is better to have been limerent and lost than never to have been limerent at all.:heart:


    ewoods 2011-10-08 14:52:26

    Yeah, no. That’s not true, or a “cure” for limerance. It’s more stalker crazy-ness.


      Colin Sphincter 2011-10-12 09:36:55

      You are falsely conflating limerence with stalking, two separate issues. Dr. Tennov, and legions of limerents, find that new love is the ‘cure’ for this exacerbating condition. Another is total acceptance, including any subconscious fantasies, that the relationship is unequivocally and forever over.


Margo Eve 2011-10-03 09:33:11

I’ve likened Limerance to being on drugs. It’s addictive. When it goes wrong, getting over it is a matter of changing the frame from grieving the loss of a person to getting over an addiction of the substances in one’s brain that were making them crazy. The steps are very much the same.


fuzzilla 2011-10-03 10:24:14

Yes, I had all kinds of intense, obsessive crushes when I was in a sexless relationship. I was really horny and lonely. One of them was older and I once called an ambulance for him and saved his life and he was violently angry at me over it. There was for sure Daddy Issue bullshit in the mix and maybe, like your friends, I wanted to “save” him like I couldn’t my dad.

The situations played themselves out and I’m just not the same person any more (I have semi-regular FWB sex, more emotional outlets, I’m a lot more guarded and realistic and perhaps a touch bitter about romantic love…I don’t hate men or anything, but I can’t pictures myself writing passionate poems for someone like I used to, for instance).


fuzzilla 2011-10-03 10:32:05

Wait, limerance means it’s unrequited? My situations were requited at least a little bit (they sent me passionate e-mails as well and we did have at least some sex/fool around). I read more into the situations than were there, though.


Hypocrite 2011-10-03 11:03:33

In another life, I had a FWB that turned into a full fledged affair, which ended, which turned into a limerance situation on my part, which turned into my moving hundreds of miles away.

I still think she and I could have had a great life together but I know that will never happen. And there’s a little part of me that’s glad to see that she’s still single.


Colin Sphincter 2011-10-04 09:02:05

Your brain/soul becomes addicted to the painful memories filling your present void with the long ago past. As in any addictive process you must break the cyclic pattern. Whenever you first sense a limerent memory it is imperative to stop it immediately. You can literally yell STOP! or snap a rubberband on your wrist, splash cold water on your face…anything to break the pattern of obsessive thought. An effective early strategy is to “go to your happy place” an image or memory of anything that makes you happy and content that has no association with your limerent object. Whenever you allow yourself fantasies of a lost lover it is imperative to end it with the understanding and knowledge of reality, it is over. Learning to laugh at the situation goes a long way in diminishing your self destructive pattern. True Love doesn’t carry this kind of suffering and pain or bondage to the past. What must be conquered here is Desire.


    fuzzilla 2011-10-07 01:31:41

    I really don’t think about my two “limerant-esque” affairs much. I really feel like the entire way I look at the world is different and just doesn’t allow for that kind of “they complete me” nonsense any more. (I know, lucky for me…I’ve had lots of time and therapy to get over it).

    I’m assuming that for everyone this article resonates with, if there’s a person who gets you so googly-eyed and stoopid, it’s because there’s something about them that fulfills a deep need for you. Beyond being smart/funny/interesting, beyond being physically attractive and good in the sack/someone you fantasize about being in the sack with. They make you feel needed and important, like you have a sense of purpose (a romantic way of saying “they are probably drunks/have ridiculous amounts of baggage and you are probably codependent and lack a strong enough sense of self/boundaries” – said as someone who’s been there).

    All that said, I do miss that intensity. I know I have to sacrifice some intensity in the interest of sanity, but I’d like to have that giddy, intense, head-over-heels, we-can-talk-for-hours, I-can’t-get-enough-of-you feeling without all the crazy, draining codependent bullshit. I have a hard time conceiving of anyone getting that excited about me unless it was because I made them feel less alone by tolerating some terrible thing about their personality that no one else would.


Stephen 2011-10-05 00:57:48

the absolute worst limerance example is when your object du lim becomes your good friend. And ONLY your good friend. You’re there in a completely romantic relationship with them, only it doesn’t have sex, kissing, holding hands, and she doesn’t really know about it.

Even tho I told her, even tho she knew I wanted the romance, she kept the boundaries solid. So everytime we went to eat, she’d eat. But I’D be on a date. Movie? She’d watch. I’d be enjoying our DATE.

Our 10x phone calls a day? Our late night talks? Out lingering hugs? My declarations of love, desire and admiration for her?

All welcomed with sincere ‘thanks’ on her end.

Your advice is good, Kendra, but like with all addictions, there ain’t no such thing as willpower.

Finally I had to go through a break-up with her. An actual “I can’t take this anymore” break-up. With crying…me because I loved her but she didn’t want me, her because she knew I was miserable and couldn’t do anything about it, and also cuz she knew she was using me a bit to fill her needs. It was a mutual vampiric feeding, only neither one of us really had the nutrients the other needed.

She’s married now. We talk online sometimes, but not often. I still carry love and limerance for her. And some lust. And some regret. And anger. And resentment. A bit.

I miss her.

But I’m sure glad that’s over with.

It was like shopping for bread at the hardware store. Nice stuff there, but you just can’t eat it and fulfill your needs.


    TheDeep 2012-02-29 13:29:49

    Hey Stephen (Guest), I’ve been there, done that. One-sided love affair, coddled by a needy woman who couldn’t say no. I see it happening with others. It sucks.

    And I still suffer from limerence, though recently just reading the Wiki on it has given me perspective I never had before.

    I’m now exploring being poly as a cure for limerence – feeling ‘in love’ with more than one person takes away the desperate need for the l.o. to be my ‘only’…


Stephen 2015-02-19 07:51:22

You re-posted this for me?? Aw, how sweet!

It’s interesting. Last time I commented, in 2011, I was talking about a completely one-sided fantasy in my head.

This time, I’m coming off a 2 year relationship where I actually broke up with her, but expected her to come back. Nah, within 3 months she met, married, and is preggo with another guy.

But I’m still lovesick.

I didn’t purchase that book last time, but I’m gonna this time!

Thanks for your timely re-post. You seem to read my mind with your blogs quite often.


Tom L 2015-02-21 21:47:35

Thanks for posting this Kendra.


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